Well, we have arrived at the 5th annual NYC Wine & Food Festival. I have only been to three events so far, but already feeling stuffed. I have taken respite at The Dream Hotel on 16th street between 8th and 9th avenues, the new home for this years festival. I wonder what happened with The Standard? No love lost as The Dream is really a dream – modern, moody and stylistic. Makes blogging and food-loving sexy and cool.
My first event was Chelsea Market After Dark, the signature opening event where that diverse market keeps it’s doors open until midnight and area restaurants sample some of their signature dishes along with wine and beer too. This year it was hosted by Emil Lagasse. I caught a glimpse but the line to meet him snaked around the room. The food in the room looked amazing, mostly comfort food. I wonder if they were dishes from his latest book?
After 4 years of covering the festival, I think I finally have my method of sampling – chef/restaurant, cuisine, uniqueness of the ingredients/dish. For example I will eat anything that chef Morimoto puts out, who wouldn’t? Buddakan was offering a spicy tuna tobiko crispy roll (which I think they did last year) and then lobster egg rolls. Couldn’t pass those up. However, I mostly pass on Italian cuisine at the festival. Not that I don’t love it, but I can recall the flavor of pasta and tomato sauce while the unique vegan quiche with crushed almond pie crust needed a little space in my belly cavity.
That night had to end with some Gelato de l’Arte. It’s the only time I break my rules when I KNOW I have had it before and I will love it. Mixed banana (my kryptonite) and mascapone Flavors together. Heaven!
Friday morning brought the welcoming brunch at The Dream rooftop. Quite the spread including bangers and mash, heuvos rancheros, gorgeous vegetables in pesto, salads, salmon, pastries, cakes, muffins, cheeses from Murray’s, cocktails and more. Festival creator Lee Schrager spoke and welcomed everyone to what promises to be a grand event. He joked about this frustrations in creating the festival and continually asking the question “why not?” and ending with the affirmation of “yes we can!” I am glad for the resolution.
Today I am stuffed from the Murray’s 4-floor cheese tasting at Norwood on 14th street and the first day of the Grand Tasting. My clear winner for the cheese was something called Scarfe Maxx.
I am calling it the liverwurst of cheese. Meaty, salty, oniony, umami flavor that sang in my mouth. At the Grand Tasting it was the lobster scrambled eggs served in an egg topped with salmon roe from High Point Bistro. Perfectly delicate and packed with subtle flavor.
Heading home now to drop off my booty, relax and then head out to Brooklyn for Adam Richman’s event…stay tuned!